until 25.01. | #2610ARTatBerlin | EFREMIDIS GALLERY presents from 15th November 2019 the exhibition Seoul Sazin by the artist Kyonwoo Chun. At the same time, the [ERP Project] of the Efremidis Gallery shows the artist Laurie Charles with the exhibition Moon in Scorpio in collaboration with EVBG.
Efremidis Gallery is proud to present ‘Seoul Sazin‘, a solo exhibition by Kyungwoo Chun. Born in Seoul, Korea in 1969, Chun’s photographic work is known for its sensitive atmosphere. For ‘Seoul Sazin’, the artist chose to show several series of photographic work which illustrates his continued interest in the inner lives of his subjects.
The western word ‘photography’ comes from the Greek roots photos (ϕοτοσ), and graphos (γραοσ), together meaning ‘drawing with light’. While the word ‘photography’ focuses on the process of making, the Korean word ‘Sazin’ (사진) means ‘transfer or copy of truth’ which places the emphasis on the outcome, the photograph.
The difference in etymology says Dr. Ayelet Zohar, shows that Korean society did not passively absorb the western concept of photography together with its technology. Instead, it was actively recoded in response to established cultural and political discourses. The word ‘Sazin’ was originally a term that came from the 14th century to describe highly detailed portrait painting. It was understood that the concept of ‘Sazin’ encapsulated more than the straightforward reproduction of material reality instead it describes an exchange of souls.
The subjects of Chun’s photographic work are blurred, often past the point of recognition. The effect is the result of, at times, extremely long exposure times. Unlike the portrait photography of the middle of the 19th century, Chun’s choice for long exposure times is intentional. Here he intentionally turns away from the original Western purpose of photography, to document, to capture a moment and present a clear simulacrum of reality.
The long exposure time creates the opportunity for the photographer and subject to interact and build a relationship. Often the participants in Chun’s work are given a framework in which to act. In ‘Face of Face’, the young and up-and-coming actors who are the subject of this series, were asked to draw an image of themselves with their eyes closed. How do they see themselves without taking on the role of a character? The actors are used to being in front of the camera, they are comfortable being watched as they perform. Chun challenged them to share with us how they view themselves without a role to hide behind. Drawing their self-portrait with their eyes closed the photographs take any time between 7 or 10 minutes. The drawing is then overlaid with the photograph, a face of a face. A face-off between portrait and self-portrait, being viewed and seeing oneself.
In addition to allowing photographer and subject to interact, the long exposure times allow Chun to capture more than a snapshot. Fleeting moments are piled on top of each other, allowing the viewer to see time in a single moment. ‘A Day in Seoul’ captures the psychological distance between the physically close commuters on the subway of Seoul. The artist asked several commuters to come to his studio wearing their normal work clothes, during different times of the day. Some came during the morning, others during the afternoon or evening. The camera shutter opened when the first subject entered and closed as soon as the last subject left. Jointly they fill the image, capturing hours, together but separate. How we relate to others and ourselves is a question that keeps coming back in Chun’s work. In ‘Nine Editors’, Chun asked nine fashion editors to bring their favorite item of clothing to his studio. As much performance as photograph the work asked the subject to present themselves in everyone else’s clothes, leaving their item out. Built out of relationships with others, the editors become themselves.
Kyungwoo Chun’s work merges performances and photography, called a process-centered artist, he explores the subject’s relationship with their perception of themselves, others and time.
At the same time, the [ERP Project] of the Efremidis Gallery shows the artist Laurie Charles with the exhibition Moon in Scorpio. This exhibition is presented by EVBG, a Project Space by Marie Sophie Beackmann and Julie Gaspard.
EVBG and Efremidis Gallery are happy to present a solo exhibition by Brussels-based artist Laurie Charles (*1987, Belgium). Working in film, writing, painting and installation, Charles creates speculative narratives by interweaving stories and histories, drawing on fiction, folklore, humanities and science. For “Moon in Scorpio”, a textile environment of hand-painted pillows and curtains, Charles concerned herself with the historical linkage of health and gender.
In the window space of Efremidis Gallery, we see a group of soft sculptures, large enough to sit on, their cottony texture inviting touch. These hand-sewn, hand-painted pillows reference anatomical drawings of plants, their microscopic insides magnified, but they also call to mind the shape and structure of the female sex organs. Inhabiting a space in between domestic coziness and sculptural quality, inside and outside as well as human and nonhuman, the pillows are not least reminding us of the undeniable kinship between people and plants.
Charles’ curtains of the series “Pharmakon“ tell a speculative herstory of medicine. Sprawled on the fabric rather than arranged in chronological or serial order, the various images and symbols in popping colors draw on and interconnect personal, mythological and historical stories of female health and healing: The moon represents the lunar cycle, which is closely linked to the menstrual cycle; the snake is an ancient symbol for fertility, the bowl with a snake coiled around on the other hand is the internationally recognized pharmacy sign; the image of big purple hands with red-painted nails surrounding a joint is reminiscent of the healing power of the laying on of hands; ginger, spoons, scales, and herbs can be read as general plant-based medical imagery, but they are also direct references to the artist’s extensive theoretical and literary research on witchcraft, wellness, (female) health and illness.
What ultimately lies on the core of “Moon in Scorpio” are reflections on the notions of “health“ and “sickness“ that are in turn fundamentally and inextricably linked to gender as well as to understandings of what makes a happy and worthy person. Our contemporary society values productivity, a healthy body is hence a body which works, a body which is capable, a body which functions in all senses of the word. Anybody and any body that deviates from this normative status of health is by definition sick and in urgent need to be fixed. In her “Sick Woman Theory“, Johanna Hedva makes a point in turning this logic around by formulating a powerful plea: “You don’t need to be fixed my queens – it’s the world that needs the fixing.“ Being sick, then, can be rethought not as the direct opposite of being healthy, but rather as another state of being, namely one in which our body and our organs act up and “revolt“ against their own silence, as anatomist and physiologist Marie François Xavier Bichat (1771-1802) put it centuries ago. It is once our body is not “working“ properly anymore that we become aware of it, that we can get back in touch with it, tend to it, and, somehow paradoxically, might feel more human than we did before. It is then that we can ask: What is it that makes us sick?
Vernissage: Friday, 15th November 2019, 6:00 – 9:00 pm
Exhibition period: Friday, 15th November 2019 – Saturday, 25th January 2020Zur EFREMIDIS GALLERY
Exhibition Kyunwoo Chun – EFREMIDIS GALLERY | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin